Music that can change your life #2

A band that has been around for five years doesn’t deserve a greatest hits album. They are still too young and they still have too much to grow before they truly reach their full potential. Has Fall Out Boy enters in hiatus, they make sure we will miss them with this fantastic collection of every single they released so far. Believers Never Die – Greatest Hits is the ultimate collection and a great way to see how far Fall Out Boy have come.

The album is set chronologically, which makes it easier to see their progress, and there isn’t much to say about their career, is there? They started with the forgotten Evening Out With Your Girlfriend, which is presented here only with the bonus track “Growing Up”, then they did their fledged out release, the brilliant Take This To Your Grave, the breakthrough From Under The Cork Tree, the majestic Infinity On High and the diverse Folie à Deux. All this in four years.

 It’s obvious that the band needs a break, after crafting hits like the sugar-coated “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down”, “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race”, FOB’s response to the emo scene and “I Don’t Care”, the band’s best song yet the least successful from all of these. These songs work because of Pete Wentz’s complex but exceptional lyrics and Stump’s soulful, fantastic voice, who manage to put so much in a pop song that you just get lost in the middle of the pop culture references and delightful hooks.

It is obvious that Fall Out Boy are an essential band. They make amazing songs, which one with more layers than the other and they do it with such a passion that you just can’t help but succumb to the sugary hooks, the catchy choruses and the complex lyrics. Fall Out Boy are not a fad. They are a brilliant band.

Listen to: Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down ; This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race; I Don’t Care.

 

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Music that can change your life – #3

Although the title of the album is on the long side, Arctic Monkeys aren’t just another pop-punk/emo band. They are a band that plays pure, simple raw. Much like Franz Ferdinand, these British rockers are still to top their fantastic debut. Although Favourite Worst Nightmare was more diverse, it didn’t have the same feel and freshness the first album carried so well and Humbug came off a little boring.

So, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not is a brilliant album and, without a doubt, the best rock album of the 00’s. Packed with amazing, catchy songs and hooks that just refuse to leave your head, Alex Turner and the band truly made here an impressive piece of art.

The thrills start right away with the slick “The View From The Afternoon”, with the band starting the album right away with “Anticipation has a habit to set you up for disappointment”, an obvious shout out to the ridiculous amount of hype surrounding the release. What’s better is that the band didn’t actually live up to that statement, specially when it’s delivering rock tracks like “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and “Still Take You Home”.

The lyrics are fantastic, as well as Turner’s nasal vocals, and the fact that the album is all connected, explaining what a night out is like, just makes everything better. Songs like “Dancing Shoes” and “You Probably Couldn’t See For The Lights But You Were Looking Straight At Me” reflect this, with the former explaining the shallowness behind the hook-ups on the dance floor and the later seeing the “character” exactly trying to hook-up.

It’s all executed perfectly and that’s exactly what makes Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not so fantastic. Everything is connected, the lyrics have a brilliant insight on the night life and the vocals are just fantastic. A true classic.

Listen to:  I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, Dancing Shoes, A Certain Romance.

 

Music that can change your life – #4

Getting a person to feel the emotions the band feels when playing one of their songs is the most difficult thing in music. A lot of bands try to do it but not a lot actually do it. Still, Elbow has nailed this since they first started to do music, partially thanks to its honest, dark lyrics and to the smooth, soulful vocals.

Through Seldom Seen Kid, Elbow managed  to make a magnum-opus, an album that every band in the indie genre should follow has an example. “One Day Like This” may not be the kind of song the band is used to do, but thanks to a beautiful chorus and majestic vocals, the sing-a-long in the end pays off. “Throw those curtains wide / One day like this a year would see me right” is the most honest sentence ever sang and written by Guy Garvey and just a touching, moving one.

But still, as good as “One Day Like This” is, the band is at its best when singing about nostalgia, divorce and other dark themes. “Grounds For Divorce” puts its focus on the boring life that family men leave and ends up being a pretty catchy song overall. Another example has to be “An Audience With The Pope” in which Garvey sings reluctant: “I’ve got an audience with the pope / And I’m saving the world at eight / But if she says she needs, everybody’s gonna have to wait”. The band isn’t afraid to point fingers and Garvey isn’t afraid to just spill his heart out and show it to everyone.

Seldom Seen Kid is an album hard to understand. It’s a diverse, under-the-radar album that uses subtlety to get us to feel and understand the singer. An album to be experienced as a whole.

Listen to: Grounds For Divorce, One Day Like This, The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver.

Music that can change your life – #5

The curse of having a fantastic album as your debut is a sword with two blades. You get recognized right away and heralded as a fantastic band but you’ll have to work a lot harder to improve and make the follow-up just as good as the debut. Franz Ferdinand are the best case among the many bands suffering from this curse.

After recording the fantastic Franz Ferdinand, the band came up with the follow-up You Could Have It So Much Better which, unfortunately, lived up to its title. Still, the band seems to be recovering, by changing their musical direction and head towards dance-music with Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.

Still, the band’s magnum-opus is their precious debut, filled with rock tracks infected with catchy hooks and amazing guitar riffs. “Take Me Out” is the best rock track of the decade by far, with smug lyrics, amazing vocals and an overall fantastic feeling to it. It’s a brilliant song, that will surely be looked back as one of the standouts in rock music in the ’00s.

The album is filled with instant sing-a-long choruses, but Franz Ferdinand can be deeper than most rock bands. “The Dark Of The Matinée” is a brilliant song, exploring the relationships Kapranos had in the university. But what the band does best is make floor-fillers, like the hilarious “Tell Her Tonight” or the slightly confusing “Cheation On Her”.

Franz Ferdinand is a blast. The band delivered everything they could in the debut, which has so many fantastic tracks that you will be blasting this for years. A brilliant rock album.

Listen to: Take Me Out, The Dark Of The Matinée, This Fire.

Music that can change your life – #6

Rave music is annoying. There are almost no lyrics, the structure is repetitive and the songs are just… Boring. However, when joined by new-wave sounds and original lyrics, it turns out good. Very good.

Klaxons’ debut, Myths Of The Near Future, is a fantastic album, so disjointed and complex that you never feel you’re actually listening to an album that was thought through. It’s a glorious mess, with an obvious emphasis on the glorious part.

Klaxons like to play around with the typical sounds and harmonies from rave music, combining them into spectacular songs. “Golden Skans”, the first single, mixes the harmonies The Beatles used to be associated to with an indie vibe and imaginative, complex lyrics. “Magick” kicks things off in a retro style and doesn’t stray away much from that sound. The band joins some screams and, again, complex lyrics to the song, but nothing too far from the initial sound.

And that is exactly what makes Klaxons special. Even if you listen to the beginning of the song, you’ll never guess what comes next. They change rhythms like a girl changes clothes and they don’t follow the typical structure. They’re different, and that’s definitely a plus.

 Myths Of The Near Future is a fantastic, mind-blowing album. Complex lyrics are abond and, while they may throw off some listeners, those who stick around will love the ride.

Listen to: Magick, Golden Skans, Atlantis To Interzone.

Music that can change your life – #7

There are many ways to describe an album: A masterpiece, a brilliant record, a fantastic showcase, a complete dud or a waste of your time… But there is really only one word to describe The Killers’ Day and Age. Beautiful.

Brand Flower and his band started their careers with the perhaps too-brilliant Hot Fuss, which was both their curse and salvation. A salvation because it had fantastic songs with upbeat tempos and nice lyrics, which propelled them to stars right away and a curse because, like Franz Ferdinand, they were just getting started and they had already done a fantastic record. Obviously, the follow-up Sam’s Town wasn’t exactly a critics’ darling but, after two years, they released an album that surpassed Hot Fuss in every single way.

Look at the top-40 hit “Human” and the upbeat, pop-esque “Spaceman”. These songs were huge hits in ’08 and are still played in the radio regularly, thanks to its fantastic lyrics and good vocals. In fact, if the The Killers released any song in this album has a single, it would be a hit.

But pop is a moving genre, so the underrated, brilliant “The World We Live In” didn’t stand a chance among the other singles and “Dustland Fairytale” wasn’t exactly the best choice as a single, as it is a song that complements the album rather than standing out. “Losing Touch”, however, is an amazing song and should’ve been a single. Opening the album in a confident fashion, with lyrics like “I’m in no hurry / You go on and tell your friends I’m losing touch”, the band shows why it still is relevant among the thousands of bands that touched the mainstream.

Overall, Day and Age is a beautiful, touching record. Brandon Flowers spills his heart right here, which results easily in the best songs the band has written yet.A  classic.

Listen to: Losing Touch, Human, Spaceman.

Music that can change your life – #8

 Charged with political-driven lyrics and fantastic vocals, Muse took a while to discover themselves but with Black Holes and Revelations, the band finally set itself apart from Radiohead and found its place in music.

It’s hard for a band that plays songs that reference conspiracies and  alien invasions to be taken seriously but by mixing various genres in a rock-esque sound, like The Clash (except with a better vocalist), Muse were, indeed, taken seriously. The mind-blowing vocals that Matthew Bellamy has and the extremely complex songs are just some of the factors that make this band the most brilliant and beloved band in the mainstream.

Although rock-esque anthems are abond in Black Holes and Revelations, like “Assassin”, Muse mixes things up a little this time around, specially with the hit-single “Supermassive Black Hole”. Sporting R&B elements and a catchy chorus, this mystical song is a brilliant piece of work and one of the standout tracks in the album. “Starlight” is another fantastic song, so simple (at least when compared with the other songs) yet so imaginative and beautiful in its on way.

There are plenty of songs to enjoy here. From the majestic “Invincible” to the fantastic songs that wraps up everything in an epic way (“Knights Of Cydonia”) there is something for everyone. Brilliant.

Listen to: Supermassive Black Hole, Starlight, Knights Of Cydonia.